Back To Business: Tony Being Tony
Tony Stewart met the press Tuesday afternoon and you could tell the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion must have been feeling good by the number of one-liners and zingers he launched in a lively 90-minute press conference.
Stewart, of course, has been out of action from the cockpit of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet since suffering two compound fractures of his right leg in a sprint car crash in Iowa on Aug. 5.
When he came out and saw the assembled media at the team’s shop in Kannapolis, N.C., it was game on for Stewart.
“Oddly enough, I actually miss you guys, which tells you that I'm not healthy yet,” were the first words out of Stewart’s mouth. And it only got funnier from there.
Asked what he missed most about racing while recuperating, the über competitive Stewart said it wasn’t the racing.
“The hot girls, there's no doubt,” Stewart said. “I mean, when you're laying in bed there's not much traffic going through my room. I thought surely through three (Sprint) Cup championships, an IndyCar championship, winning the USAC triple crown, a national championship in '94, that I could surely out of this whole process get one hot nurse during this whole thing.”
Stewart plans to be at Richmond International Raceway this weekend and hinted at having a scooter to get around on. Asked if he had engineered it himself, he allowed that he had not.
“I don't engineer anything,” Stewart said. “I'm just the guy that comes up with the really stupid ideas. Believe it or not, I learned how to use the Internet and how to shop on the Internet, which has made me very, very dangerous to the accounting department. I should be done with my Christmas shopping in about a week. Gene (Haas, team co-owner) has got the blank checks. Unfortunately my account doesn't tie into all of his accounts, unless he decides to adopt me any time in the next couple weeks, which I'm more than happy to do that. I think my parents would in this case perfectly understand, probably at this point in my life might be all right with it.”
As for the potentially explosive personalities on the team — Stewart, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick — all three have had their moments, as has Danica Patrick. “Well, I think it's kind of been inevitable at some point that all three of us during different stages are going to start growing up, and I don't know that all three of us have completed that process yet, but I think to a certain degree and certain level, all three of us have made huge gains in that area,” Stewart said.
“There's going to be two really key positions that we're going to have to fill, and that's, one, a therapist for me, and the second one is the therapist for the rest of the team. But it's going to be fun. I think there's a lot more positives than — everybody is looking at this as ‘Oh, my God, this is an atomic bomb that can get set off at any moment.’ I look as it the opposite way; I think the fact that we've all been through this to a certain degree and we all don't want to get back in that mode again.”
The bottom line?
Yes, SHR could be a volatile place next season. Maybe even very volatile at times.
But the boss man is back and getting stronger by the day and that’s a good thing for the team and for the sport.